Motivation without Emotion: is it Possible?

As someone who is really interested in productivity, motivation is one of the topics that interest me the most. Motivation lets us do things without using much willpower and someone like me who has a lot of work definitely needs something like this in my life. That’s why I actually studied a lot about motivation especially its relationship with emotion. But can we be motivated without emotions?

As a general rule, motivation will always involve emotions. This is because our strong emotions to achieve something are significantly tied to our motivation. However, there is a rare concept in which you can be motivated without emotion which is something called flow.

We know that every time we feel very motivated, we feel a burst of emotions that wants us to do things. However, the disadvantage of motivation is that it only lasts a few days. I can be motivated but ask me next week and I won’t be anymore. This article will answer that, we have to find a way to be motivated minus the emotion. This is because emotion changes a lot.

Can you have motivation without emotion?

You can be motivated without emotions. However, this is rare and only people who are really trained to do this can actually do it. It is known as Flow State and it requires strong willpower to start doing this extreme concentration state but there are ways to do it instantly.

As someone in the productivity space, I am always amazed with the power of flow. I always use this method whenever I am not motivated to do anything.

For example, I was not actually motivated to write today, but I used my willpower in order to achieve this flow state and as you can see, it works.

I am now writing even if my emotions are not in-line with my motivation. This is because there is something in the flow state that makes it fun.

The only hard thing in reaching the flow state is that it is hard to enter the flow state. It requires practice and I learned most of it through reading books about the said state. But I am going to share a few tips so you can also try it.

“Thoughts create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy, from which new arts flow.”


The best way to enter flow state is to actually cancel all notifications and don’t let any distraction get you.

For example, I was able to reach flow state every time by putting my phone away from me. Also, it is always in silent mode when I’m trying to reach the flow state.

Another is to schedule a specific time to do this practice, it is also known as time blocking. For example, I do time block every morning in which I am away from every thing. This is the same time I am writing this article.

Am I motivated to work right after waking up? No I am not. But thanks to the flow state, I can start working and now, I am motivated to finish this article without any emotions.

I am now actually going with the flow while writing this article. As you can see, I am not being controlled by any emotion. It is the concept of flow that guides me in writing.

And I am really motivated to write earlier this day.

So is it possible to be motivated without any emotions? The answer is yes. You just have to practice how to reach the flow state. The easiest way to reach this state is to time block and remove every distraction around you.

Try to give all of your attention and focus into one single thing you are doing. The only hard thing about the flow state is that it takes a lot of willpower in order to start. However, once it starts, you can feel a surge of motivation to finish anything possible.

In Kelly McGonigal’s book, The Willpower Instinct, she said that willpower is very strong in the morning right after waking up. That is why most people who use flow state usually do it in the morning simply because going in the state needs a lot of willpower.

This is a link in which you can check the book out. It is a good read if you are really interested in the concept of willpower and how to use it to be very productive: The Willpower Instinct

I also made a book review with a video if you are interested in that. Here is the link for the book summary of The Willpower Instinct: The Willpower Instinct Book Summary

Does emotion affect motivation?

Motivation is strongly affected by emotions. The reason for this is because motivation is closely related to strong emotions to do something. This emotion reduces the amount of willpower in order to do the action required to accomplish a task.

We all know how motivation lets us to do things.

Just watch a motivational video that pumps us up. While watching some motivational videos, we get very excited to do things.

We are filled with emotions that we can do this. We can’t fail. Nothing will happen if we just sit there and sleep.

That is the power of emotion. Those strong emotion that pushes up to do something is our motivation.

For the majority of cases, motivation will come from these strong emotions. In fact, it is hard to do something if we don’t feel like it.

That’s why there are lots of other self-help books that teaches us how to do things even if we don’t feel like it. Simply because it is hard to move if we are not motivated or triggered with strong emotions.

One such book is the 5 second rule which I use together with the flow state. I also have a book review for it here: The 5 Second Rule Book Summary

But generally speaking, emotion affects motivation a lot. In fact, most of the motivational videos or music we will find online are effective because they are reaching us on an emotional level. It is hard to be motivated without any emotion involved.

I actually made an article discussing the relationship between willpower, motivation, and action which will be very interesting if you want to read it. In there, you can understand in an easy-to-understand model how motivation affects us in doing things: Is Motivation a Feeling?

Motivation without Emotion: The Flow State

Motivation without emotion is definitely hard to do. But it is possible. Reaching the flow state is hard but once you get the grip on how to do it, you can fully use it to skyrocket your productivity.

Motivation is really good to use. However, since it is significantly affected by emotions, it is hard to maintain.

The only way to achieve things in life is to do things consistently. If you want to build muscles, then you have to be consistent in going to the gym.

If you want to be a successful writer, then you need to write every day.

If you want to be a successful business, then you need to go and do business every day.

Doing things consistently is hard if you just rely on your emotions. Thus, you need something more. You need to be motivated without the need for emotions.

That’s what this article is all about. Being motivated without emotions.


Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned with people and makes videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on

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